Once upon a time, there was a mama who was just a little freaked out to teach math.
She was afraid of passing on her own math anxiety to her kids, so she alternately adopted the Sudbury Model (they can learn all the math they need for life in 6 weeks!) and had panic attacks that ended in workbooks being overnighted to her house.
It was all super healthy and definitely the way she wanted to homeschool.
And then finally, she figured it out: she would go with that fancy computer math program that she had read about! The computer would teach her kids math, and she could focus on things she was good at like reading aloud, making up fun history studies and collecting cats.
And let me tell you, the mama was happy.
This math thing was working out!
While the kids did math, she could clear the table, get the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and even wipe down the counters and throw in a load of laundry.
But the kids were miserable.
Every single day, as part of the computer math curriculum, they were to complete a timed component, and that set them on edge. Often, they would make mistakes because they were stressed about the clock, and then they would get angry, and then that frustration would carry into the rest of the learning that morning.
And let me tell you, no matter how hard that mom tried to turn things around with a Positive Attitude and Loads of Understanding and Not Swearing Or Throwing Things, it was hard to reverse that bus.
And so eventually, the mom learned something really important: if the mom is happy, but the kids are unhappy, homeschooling is unhappy.
We can also reverse this: if the kids are happy and the mom is unhappy, homeschooling is still unhappy.
Sometimes we ignore the second half of that equation (“equation” – am I using that correctly because math?). We figure that if we are meeting out kids’ needs, then that’s enough.
But homeschooling has to work for YOU too.
Because we want homeschooling to be sustainable, right? And that means we need to avoid burn-out, and that means that we really need to avoid doing stuff that makes us miserable every single day.
Here’s the thing: There are roughly 82 million options out there for teaching math (and almost as many for teaching everything else.)
So why would we choose to go with (or stick with) something that is causing stress or misery each day?
One of the very best things about homeschooling is that it’s flexible. But if you’re only taking advantage of that flexibility for your kids, you’re missing out.
The sweet-spot of homeschooling is when you and your kids find something that works for all of you.
That might take experiment and trial and error, but that’s homeschooling, baby.
It’s OK to take a little time to figure out what works best in your family, and it’s OK to change course if something isn’t working.
Keep the BIG GOAL in mind every day: You want your kids to love learning and you want to build wonderful memories together, right?
So it’s worth it to find your sweet spot. Even if it takes a little time.
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